Tape Recordings

After a warm, sunny week there was the potential to move young vegetable plants outside this weekend. Unfortunately the weather turned cooler today, so things will need to stay where they are for a while yet. Every available window sill is a mini garden centre at the moment.

Of course, some people just have to show off don’t they. Like a line of body builders on the beach, these Purple Teepee dwarf French beans lord it over their neighbours, kicking sand into their ice creams just because they can.

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It’s pretty clear who wears the trousers in this propagator.

I only sowed the seeds a week earlier, so have switched the heat off to the propagator and will pot them on the next few days to allow them to flourish. They’ll go outside eventually, after a bit of hardening off.

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Saved Kelvedon Wonder pea seeds

It’s also been quite satisfying to sow some of the peas saved from last year’s harvest. The Kelvedon Wonders have germinated quickly and should grow into nice compact plants. People sometimes don’t bother growing peas because you need an awful lot of plants to get a decent amount of produce. But there’s just something very satisfying about growing them and popping the beautiful green peas out of their pods. And they’re utterly delicious even raw. So I’m growing some this year just for the fun of it.

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Nematodes – the nemesis of slugs

Outdoors, priority one this weekend was applying nematodes in the back garden. Two varieties of nematodes in fact: one for slugs and another which kills a number of the pests which attack vegetables. I’d bought way too much of the anti-slug version but used it all anyway as you can’t use too much – using lots does no harm (unless you’re a slug). But the ground temperature mustn’t be too low and you have to keep the soil moist for a couple of weeks. So if we have a warm and dry spell like last week it’ll mean nightly duty with the hosepipe.

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Seed tape, how do I love thee. Let me count the ways.

With everywhere treated I set about sowing various seeds directly into the ground. I’m definitely a convert to the world of seed tapes. They cost a bit extra, unless you make your own, but they make it very easy to put a row of tiny seeds in a straight line, correctly spaced too.

Seed tapes

Covering lines of tape with compost.

I had tapes for two varieties of carrots: Early Nantes 5 and a rainbow mix. I also sowed, without tapes, Sugarsnax carrots, Cylindra and Boltardy beetroots, some red-stalked chard and a line of turnips. There’s no particular symbiosis there in terms of companion planting, but nor does any of those plants harm the others, so they should be easy bedfellows.

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The end of bed three, with seven rows of future yumminess just sown.

Meanwhile a quick check on the overwintered items was pretty positive. The winter-hardy variety of White Lisbon spring onions proves its worth again, with healthy green shoots surviving the cold months and now ready to start getting bigger.

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Daffodils peer forward to watch the garlic grow

Nearby the garlic looks good too. Interestingly the Germidour cloves I saved from last year’s harvest have produced bigger, thicker plants than the new Marco bulbs I bought. It could just be a difference in growing patterns: the Marco may fatten up quickly now that temperatures are slowly climbing. A feed will be in order soon.

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Herb bed. Brush a hand through the greenery for a spellbinding smell

The small herb bed is coming back to life too. Left to right: thyme, rosemary, tarragon, chives, sage and (hidden behind the sage) oregano are growing well and I’ll soon be adding some fennel and dill. Basil is my favourite herb of all and I’ve got four very different varieties started off in modules. Once they’re big enough to be potted on they’ll go into the mini-greenhouses for the summer, ready to grace Italian recipes and, in the case of the Siam Queen strain, many a Thai dish too.

Drool …

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